Sorry about the long absence. I've been a bad blogger! I have been revisiting the "greatest hits" recipes on this blog. Especially the soups since "soup season" is coming to a close. I will be trying some new things soon. Namely Indian food which has been a glaring ommission from this blog. But more on that later.
One new recipe I have tried is Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day from the book of the same name by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois I'd been eyeing the book for months after reading glowing reviews.
This method is perfect for me because I like my bread really fresh and since I'm single a whole store bought loaf is a waste.
With this recipe I can just take off a tiny hunk and make a mini-boule.
If you don't wash your bucket in between batches you do end up with a great sourdough-which is what I have now. I love sourdough!
Anyway, I highly recommend the book. Fresh bread for dinner souldn't be easier! As for equipment I baked mine on a cookie sheet with my silpat and I found a peel at Marshalls for $5. The peel really isn't necessary unless you're making pizza or baking on a stone.
From Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day: The Discovery that Revolutionizes Home Baking by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois (Thomas Dunne Books, 2007). Copyright 2007 by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois.
1-1/2 tablespoons granulated yeast (about 1-1/2 packets)
1-1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
6-1/2 cups unbleached flour, plus extra for dusting dough
Cornmeal (if you're using a peel)
In a large plastic resealable container, mix yeast and salt into 3 cups lukewarm (about 100 degrees) water. Using a large spoon, stir in flour, mixing until mixture is uniformly moist with no dry patches. Do not knead. Dough will be wet and loose enough to conform to shape of plastic container. Cover, but not with an airtight lid.
Let dough rise at room temperature, until dough begins to flatten on top or collapse, at least 2 hours and up to 5 hours. (At this point, dough can be refrigerated up to 2 weeks; refrigerated dough is easier to work with than room-temperature dough, so the authors recommend that first-time bakers refrigerate dough overnight or at least 3 hours.)
When ready to bake, sprinkle cornmeal on a pizza peel. Place a broiler pan on bottom rack of oven. Place baking stone on middle rack and preheat oven to 450 degrees, preheating baking stone for at least 20 minutes.
Sprinkle a little flour on dough and on your hands. Pull dough up and, using a serrated knife, cut off a grapefruit-size piece (about 1 pound). Working for 30 to 60 seconds (and adding flour as needed to prevent dough from sticking to hands; most dusting flour will fall off, it's not intended to be incorporated into dough), turn dough in hands, gently stretching surface of dough, rotating ball a quarter-turn as you go, creating a rounded top and a bunched bottom.
Place shaped dough on prepared pizza peel and let rest, uncovered, for 40 minutes. Repeat with remaining dough or refrigerate it in lidded container. (Even one day's storage improves flavor and texture of bread. Dough can also be frozen in 1-pound portions in airtight containers and defrosted overnight in refrigerator prior to baking day.) Dust dough with flour.
Using a serrated knife, slash top of dough in three parallel, 1/4-inch deep cuts (or in a tic-tac-toe pattern). Slide dough onto preheated baking stone. Pour 1 cup hot tap water into broiler pan and quickly close oven door to trap steam. Bake until crust is well-browned and firm to the touch, about 30 minutes. Remove from oven to a wire rack and cool completely.
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